Effect of Acute Noise Exposure on Salivary Cortisol: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Gholamreza Pouryaghoub Mail Occupational Diseases Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Ramin Mehrdad Department of Occupational Medicine, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Alireza Valipouri Department of Occupational Medicine, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Noise, Salivary cortisol, Cardiovascular, Hypertension


Cardiovascular adverse effects are interesting aspects of occupational noise exposure. One possible mechanism of these effects is an alternation in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Our aim was to measure salivary cortisol response to relatively high-intensity noise exposure in a controlled randomized trial study. We exposed 50 male volunteers to 90 dBA noise for 20 minutes and compared their level of salivary cortisol with 50 non-exposed controls. Salivary samples obtained before and after exposure. Before intervention means (SD) salivary cortisol level were 3.24 (0.47)ng/ml and 3.25 (0.41)ng/ml for exposed and non-exposed groups respectively. Mean salivary cortisol level increased to 4.17 ng/mlafter intervention in exposure group. This increment was statistically significant (P=0.00). Mean salivary cortisol level of the non-exposed group had statistically non-significant decrement after this period (0.2 ng/ml). The difference between salivary cortisol level of non-exposed and exposed groups after the intervention was statistically significant. Noise exposure may affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, and this may be one of the mechanisms of noise exposure cardiovascular effects.


Mahendra Prashanth, K.V. and S. Venugopalachar, The possible influence of noise frequency components on the health of exposed industrial workers--a review. Noise Health, 2011. 13(50): p. 16-25.

Virkkunen, H., T. Kauppinen, and L. Tenkanen, Long-term effect of occupational noise on the risk of coronary heart disease. Scand J Work Environ Health, 2005. 31(4): p. 291-9.

van Kempen, E.E., et al., The association between noise exposure and blood pressure and ischemic heart disease: a meta-analysis. Environ Health Perspect, 2002. 110(3): p. 307-17.

Lee, J.H., et al., Cohort study for the effect of chronic noise exposure on blood pressure among male workers in Busan, Korea. Am J Ind Med, 2009. 52(6): p. 509-17.

Babisch, W., Transportation noise and cardiovascular risk: updated review and synthesis of epidemiological studies indicate that the evidence has increased. Noise Health, 2006. 8(30): p. 1-29.

Kristiansen, J., et al., Stress reactions to cognitively demanding tasks and open-plan office noise. Int Arch Occup Environ Health, 2009. 82(5): p. 631-41.

Bluhm, G. and C. Eriksson, Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in Sweden. Noise Health, 2011. 13(52): p. 212-6.

Babisch, W., Cardiovascular effects of noise. Noise Health, 2011. 13(52): p. 201-4.

Ising, H. and C. Braun, Acute and chronic endocrine effects of noise: Review of the research conducted at the Institute for Water, Soil and Air Hygiene. Noise Health, 2000. 2(7): p. 7-24.

Waye, K.P., et al., Low frequency noise enhances cortisol among noise sensitive subjects during work performance. Life Sci, 2002. 70(7): p. 745-58.

Stansfeld, S.A. and M.P. Matheson, Noise pollution: non-auditory effects on health. Br Med Bull, 2003. 68: p. 243-57.

Aydin, Y. and M. Kaltenbach, Noise perception, heart rate and blood pressure in relation to aircraft noise in the vicinity of the Frankfurt airport. Clin Res Cardiol, 2007. 96(6): p. 347-58.

Spreng, M., Possible health effects of noise induced cortisol increase. Noise Health, 2000. 2(7): p. 59-64.

Ising, H., W. Babisch, and B. Kruppa, Noise-Induced Endocrine Effects and Cardiovascular Risk. Noise Health, 1999. 1(4): p. 37-48.

Babisch, W., et al., Increased catecholamine levels in urine in subjects exposed to road traffic noise: the role of stress hormones in noise research. Environ Int, 2001. 26(7-8): p. 475-81.

Looser, R.R., et al., Cortisol is significantly correlated with cardiovascular responses during high levels of stress in critical care personnel. Psychosom Med, 2010. 72(3): p. 281-9.

Spreng, M., Noise induced nocturnal cortisol secretion and tolerable overhead flights. Noise Health, 2004. 6(22): p. 35-47.

Selander, J., et al., Saliva cortisol and exposure to aircraft noise in six European countries. Environ Health Perspect, 2009. 117(11): p. 1713-7.

Maschke, C., Stress Hormone Changes in Persons exposed to Simulated Night Noise. Noise Health, 2003. 5(17): p. 35-45.

Gitanjali, B. and R. Ananth, Effect of acute exposure to loud occupational noise during daytime on the nocturnal sleep architecture, heart rate, and cortisol secretion in healthy volunteers. J Occup Health, 2003. 45(3): p. 146-52.

Babisch, W., Stress hormones in the research on cardiovascular effects of noise. Noise Health, 2003. 5(18): p. 1-11.

Weibel, L., [Methodological guidelines for the use of salivary cortisol as biological marker of stress]. Presse Med, 2003. 32(18): p. 845-51.

Wagner, J., et al., Feasibility of testing three salivary stress biomarkers in relation to naturalistic traffic noise exposure. Int J Hyg Environ Health, 2010. 213(2): p. 153-5.

Tunn, S., et al., Simultaneous measurement of cortisol in serum and saliva after different forms of cortisol administration. Clin Chem, 1992. 38(8 Pt 1): p. 1491-4.

Laudat, M.H., et al., Salivary cortisol measurement: a practical approach to assess pituitary-adrenal function. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 1988. 66(2): p. 343-8.

Kirschbaum, C. and D.H. Hellhammer, Noise and Stress - Salivary Cortisol as a Non-Invasive Measure of Allostatic Load. Noise Health, 1999. 1(4): p. 57-66.

Bigert, C., G. Bluhm, and T. Theorell, Saliva cortisol--a new approach in noise research to study stress effects. Int J Hyg Environ Health, 2005. 208(3): p. 227-30.

Lewis, J.G., Steroid analysis in saliva: an overview. Clin Biochem Rev, 2006. 27(3): p. 139-46.

Kirschbaum, C. and D.H. Hellhammer, Salivary Cortisol. Encyclopedia of Stress, 2000. 3: p. 379-383.

Hamer M, O'Donnell K, Lahiri A, Steptoe A, et al.Salivary cortisol responses to mental stress are associatedwith coronary artery calcification in healthy men and women. Eur Heart J 2010;31:424-9.

Wirtz PH, Elsenbruch S, Emini L, Rüdisüli K, Groessbauer S, Ehlert U, et al. Perfectionism and the cortisol response to psychosocial stress in men.Psychosom Med 2007;69:249-55.

Reinhardt T, Schmahl C, Wüst S, Bohus M. Salivary cortisol, heart rate, electrodermal activity and subjective stress responses to the Mannheim Multicomponent Stress

Test (MMST). Psychiatry Res 2012;198:106-11.

How to Cite
Pouryaghoub G, Mehrdad R, Valipouri A. Effect of Acute Noise Exposure on Salivary Cortisol: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Acta Med Iran. 54(10):657-661.